September 28, 2015
It has been a very busy summer and autumn is following in the same pattern. My last Blog post and update on my Facebook Page was made in mid-May when I launched a book tour throughout the province of Ontario to promote my new book 'Mike Grandmaison's Ontario' (Turnstone Press). The book was very well received at the 13 venues I attended. It was a pleasure to connect with old friends, clients and colleagues, as well as to meet many, many new folks! Thank you to everyone who came out to support me and the new book.
Following the book tour, I traveled eastward to the Canadian East Coast for 6 weeks to explore new territory and create new imagery for upcoming projects. I discovered many new places in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. I also revisited a few iconic locations such as the attached image of the Peggy's Cove Lighthouse. While I have photographed this lighthouse on numerous occasions over the years, I personally think I created my finest version of the lighthouse during this recent trip. Following a day of overcast conditions and heavy downpour during the evening, the skies cleared by dawn. This time of day offered a rare opportunity to photograph the iconic landmark without any tourists, enhancing the feeling of solitude I felt at the moment. The ‘Belt of Venus’, an atmospheric phenomenon seen just before sunrise or after sunset, glows bright pink above the darker blue layer known as the ‘Earth’s Shadow’. This pink glow, also known as an ‘anti-twilight arch’, extends some 10-20 degrees above the horizon and is caused by a backscattering of reddish light from the rising or setting sun. I waited until the beacon lit up before pressing the shutter.
I have been on press all day, starting at 9:30 AM. 12 hours later and I have proofed 8 signatures. A signature is one sheet of printed paper that, once folded, will result in 12 pages of the book. Each signature must be printed on both sides. I will be checking a total of about 22 of these signatures for a total page count of 252 pages. It is going very well so far with minimal tweaking. I cannot overstate the importance of doing good prepress work earlier as it really makes the printing a much easier task. The first two signatures usually set the tone for the others. I'm always a bit nervous doing this because so much is at stake for the publisher (Turnstone Press) and myself. I end up looking at the color fairly critically and looking for any potential marks, blemishes, etc. Once I am happy, I sign off and the rest of the signature gets printed. About 1.5 hours later, I return to do the same thing. It will take approximately 35 consecutive hours of printing to complete the book. Needless to say, it will be an all-nighter!
Shown above is master printer Darrell Hildebrand checking out a signature. Darrell is retiring next week after 27 years in the business! I have worked with Darrell on a few books over the years. Wishing you well in your future endeavours Darrell!
Printing a book can take a while, depending on the physical size of the book, how many pages in the book, how many books are being printed, whether there are any special processes required, etc. Assuming everything runs well, I plan to be 'on press' for about 37 consecutive hours or so. I hope to get in an hour or so of sleep between some of these press checks.
While in Altona, I shall be well taken care by Friesens . They provide their clients with very comfortable spaces to relax, sleep and eat. I always take time to check out the new books they printed since my last visits. Looking forward to this.
Once the prepress work was completed (two full days), it was time to prepare some proofs for a final edit. The CONTENT PROOFS are essentially a mock up of the entire book to confirm the layout and check the entire text for any typos, potential issues with fonts, etc. It also allows us to check that all captions are in the proper locations, etc. The RUSH PROOFS allow us to inspect the photographs for color, contrast, sharpness, etc. If we did a good job on prepress, there shouldn't me much to correct here. In addition to assessing a sampling of the photographs, we also look over the cover with a fine tooth comb. Everything is set, the metal plates are now being etched in time for my trip back to Friesens tomorrow morning to start press checking the book as it comes off the press.